And so I progressed into another phase of entertainment on today‘s two jobs......creative vocalizing. Part of the latest progression was brought on by this.
I was watching Rihanna being presented with some kind of award last week for being “best vocalist” of the year. She even beat out Count Dracula. I’m dumbfounded. She sounds like a vacuum cleaner in heat. Then I saw this girl sing Amazing Grace on “The Voice.“ She was so off the simple melody line with her screeching and screaming, I couldn’t even recognize the song. And then it came to me. You’re not selling your voice or the song even. You’re selling the "screeching." You completely improvise the song you're singing. You sing the way you play when you improvise on the keyboard. Make the song your own…..your own version that speaks to who you are.
I’m doing a medley from My Fair Lady to my audience…..Getting Married in the Morning, Street Where You Live, I Could Have Danced All Night, etc. and instead of singing them straight through like I usually do, I did them creatively. Stop here, lengthen this note, come in on the offbeat, basically “play” with the song. And then I did “My Way” with every emotion I could reek out of my vocal cords. They really went for that.
I enjoyed it expressing myself in a new way, not only on the piano and accordion, but…..vocally. Another means of expressing myself. And what happens is......you’re really working your brain doing all that, and that, in turn, is stimulating the rest of the talents and it‘s all coming together at one time. And a few impersonations (Elvis, Al Jolson, James Cagney, etc), some dancing here and there. Remember I can’t dance at all. But I CAN do 4-5 seconds at a time…..demonstrate the Blue Danube Waltz, Ballin’ the Jack, Charleston, some John Travolta disco moves. Enough to add more variety to the performance. And the more I’m doing, it seems the more I CAN do. I couldn’t even say my own name when I was a kid……now I’m rattling off patter, in-between songs, like a politician and saying funny things like a poor man’s version of David Letterman.
I could kick myself up and down the street for not discovering my capabilities sooner when I had energy and enthusiasm. But, for my age, I’m still pretty physically fit and can still move pretty well. But not like just a few years ago. Heck, I can’t even stand up with my 30 lb accordion for an hour anymore.
So I moved up to 50/50 point. 50% of me wants to play with my new toys and see how far I can go with this whole new performance routine and the other 50% wants to just pack it all up and enjoy my remaining years with just a gig here and there.
I don’t think any of this means a “hill of beans” to anyone but myself. But I’m so thrilled with what I accomplished today I wanted to get it out of me. So thanks for letting me “get it out.”
I forgot to mention the starting point for all of this. It was two weeks ago when I happened to see a performer in another part of the building from where I was playing. You talk about amateurism? This man sounded like he just entered show business that morning. A singer…..a simple bland, dull singer making the people into an even duller audience. I walked into the room. He’s finishing his song, says the standard “thank you” to everyone and then spends a whole minute fumbling around with his Karaoke machine looking for the next song to sing while the audience just sat there counting the ceiling tiles. Then he sang the next song, but that was it…..he just “sang the next song.” And said “thank you again.” And then, mercifully, the show was over. Point being, I said to myself right there and then……if he could get away with a performance like that, and actually get paid for it, I’m going to try the same thing with my own Karaoke machine, but put some pizz-azz into the singing, and body movements instead of just standing there with a mike in my hand. Stop playing the keyboards and just sing to the background music. And that’s what led up to what I did today.
I’m wondering how many of us can push ourselves to do more than we’re presently doing? Are unaware of their own hidden talents? I really wish I had explored my capabilities way back when. Maybe I wouldn’t be so burned out and unemployable today?
Did anyone notice I did what Bachus said.......bring the topic back to what it was originally all about. He deserved that Harley he won from me!